EU discusses counter-terror strategies
The sharing of air passenger data, cooperation among intelligence services, stripping suspected jihadists of their passports: these are just a few of the proposals that the EU foreign ministers dealt with on Monday in Brussels in response to the Paris attacks. Rightly so, some commentators write, and call for further steps to combat terror. Others believe the authorities must work closer with Muslim families to prevent youth radicalisation.
Paris must crack down on terror
France's Prime Minister Manuel Valls has announced that he intends to crack down on terrorism with full force. The conservative daily Le Figaro calls for far-reaching measures: "Our country must do more to protect itself against the threat of terrorism and Islamist hatred. Surveillance of criminals must be improved, we must reflect on prison conditions and step up monitoring of the Internet. Furthermore, the entire country must hold terrorists in contempt, and in some cases strip them of their citizenship. Jihadists should be expelled or arrested on their return. And more means must be put at the disposal of the police, who must work closer with the intelligence services. ... The prime minister should use his rising popularity to take vigorous, enduring measures."
State needs help from Muslim families
The authorities in Western states must encourage Muslim families to do more to help prevent the radicalisation of young people, the conservative daily The Daily Telegraph demands: "The mosques have been supplanted as fonts of radicalisation by social media and active participation in jihad. But that does not absolve those who may be able to exercise some influence over impressionable young Muslim men from doing so. Families in particular need to be watchful and to alert the authorities to signs of extremist behaviour. To that end, the courts need to be mindful in their sentencing policy of the need to encourage co-operation from parents. Lengthy jail terms handed down recently may have prevented some families from co-operating with the police."
Stricter controls don't bring security
The sharing of air passenger data, which the EU interior ministers called for last week as a means for combating terror, could quickly lead to a Big Brother state, the conservative daily Večer warns: "Most people won't be bothered by the government's knowing where they sat on a plane. But when their emails are read, their Internet profiles are monitored and their telephone calls are tapped into as part of a counter-terrorism law, they're bound to ask themselves whether they want to live in such a community of states. Nevertheless that's just the kind of measure now being discussed. The former head of the British secret service MI6 John Sawers said on Tuesday that intelligence agencies should sign data sharing agreements with technology companies. That shouldn't be allowed. The extremists who carried out the killings in Paris were long known to the authorities. So the fault lies with the security services, and not with faulty legislation!"
Never give up the rule of law
After the Paris attacks the political efforts to combat terrorism have intensified in Denmark too. A new law is currently being discussed which would allow the authorities to withdraw the citizenship of an individual if they have reason to suspect he or she resided in a conflict zone. The left-liberal daily Politiken steps up to defend the rule of law: "Fortunately the prosecution still has to prove its suspicions. ... That's the way it should be in a constitutional state. ... There is no question that the police and intelligence services need comprehensive powers to monitor the roughly 100 individuals suspected of having fought in Syria or Iraq. ... But the frustration of not being able to prove what they got up to abroad should never be a reason to give up the principles of democracy and the rule of law. Otherwise the terrorists have already won."